Lensbaby goes ultrawide with lens adapter

The maker of selective-focus lenses adds a $80 adapter that converts its 50mm models into a 21mm lens.

The 0.42x wide-angle adapter decreases the focal length of Lensbaby's selective-focus lenses.
The 0.42x wide-angle adapter decreases the focal length of Lensbaby's selective-focus lenses. Lensbaby

Lensbaby is bringing a wider look to its line of selective-focus lenses, announcing the 0.42x Super Wide lens that expands its products' 50mm field of view to 21mm.

Lensbaby co-founder Sam Pardue sporting a Lensbaby with the 0.42x Super Wide adapter attached.
Lensbaby co-founder Sam Pardue sporting a Lensbaby with the 0.42x Super Wide adapter attached. Stephen Shankland/CNET News

The $79.95 product is on sale now, said co-founder Sam Pardue in an interview here at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) trade show. "It's for anybody who wants to shoot wider," for example for interior photos, he said.

Lensbaby's lenses focus only on one patch of the frame, using flexible or pivoting designs in its lenses to shift the location of that spot. The effect can be a view that looks dreamy , in motion, or sharply focused on a particular subject.

With the 0.42x adapter, though, the amount the lens can be flexed is reduced somewhat because of vignetting issues: the lens body darkens the corners of the frame by occluding the light. On a mainstream SLR, about 85 percent of the range is usable, but it's smaller on a full-frame camera such as the Nikon D700 or Canon 5D Mark II, Pardue said.

Lensbaby offers three basic lens models: the Composer, the Muse, and the Control Freak. Each has a screw-in adapter that can accommodate the 0.42x adapter or either of the company's earlier wide-angle and telephoto adapters, which together cost $90.

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